She’s Khaleesi, mother of dragons, and all-around badass lady — Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen, one of the most crucial characters in HBO’s hit fantasy series Game of Thrones. But as the series winds down, Clarke is preparing to say goodbye.
Though her lips are sealed when it comes to any GoT spoilers, Clarke has opened up about her beginnings, her views, and what’s to come. Here’s everything we know about where the actress is in her career.
It was her first major role
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Clarke admitted that the role of Dany saved her career. She was a struggling actress when she received the call to audition for the part. And Clarke is nothing but grateful for the opportunity to embody the character, saying “Women have been great rulers. And then for that to be a character that I’m known to play? That’s so f***ing lucky.”
But she’s ready to say goodbye
After seven long years, Clarke is preparing to move on from her career-defining role. But she knows it won’t be easy to leave Dany behind. “There’s going to be a shake-up of my identity, I think,” she told Rolling Stone. “And I feel like I’m only going to understand what the last seven years has been when we stop.”
The events of the last year have shaped her
As a Brit who sometimes works in Hollywood, Clarke admits that the political events of last year and the subsequent reverberations have affected her greatly. But she has also dealt with personal tragedy during all of this: Her father passed away from cancer in July 2016.
Clarke responds that “[t]he world felt like a scarier place once my dad wasn’t in it,” noting that a year after his death she is “still in varying degrees of shock.”
She’s a feminist
The combination of her powerful role and the world’s changes have led Clarke to embrace feminism. She talks to Rolling Stone about the treatment of women on screen, how her mother was an inspiring role model, and her dreams of starting an all-female production company.
Clarke also tells Elle about on-set struggles, and how she “get[s] a lot of crap for having done nudes scenes and sex scenes. That, in itself, is so antifeminist. Women hating on other women is just the problem.”
She’s got at least one high-profile role coming up
While filming GoT, Clarke has managed to squeeze in a few memorable film gigs, including her turn as Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys and a lead role in the romantic drama Me Before You. And her next movie role is even bigger, even though we don’t know who she’s playing.
Regarding her character in the upcoming Han Solo film, Clarke tells Rolling Stone, “[a]ll I can say is she’s awesome.” As with any project of this magnitude, all details are completely under wraps, but be prepared to see her light up the screen.
She’s got another film on the horizon
Following April’s psychological thriller Voice from the Stone and the aforementioned seventh season of GoT, you still have another opportunity to see Clarke on screen. The thriller Above Suspicion, directed by Phillip Noyce, is based on the true story of FBI agent Mark Putnam, Clarke stars alongside Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston and child star-turned-indie queen Thora Birch.
And hopefully a few more in the works
Some other potential projects starring Clarke have been teased in the past. In 2014, for example, an article reported that Clarke would be starring alongside Helena Bonham Carter in The Guns of August, based on the historical novel of the same name. And in 2016, Variety wrote that she and Hidden Figures actor Glen Powell were in negotiations to star in rom-com The Set Up. Also, her Wikipedia page claims that she’ll be working with the Me Before You writing team, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, on The Beauty Inside.
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